The following is not intended as legal advice. It would be wise to contact an attorney to discuss options.
SAFETY DURING AN EXPLOSIVE INCIDENT
· If an argument seems unavoidable, try to have it in a room or area where you have access to an exit. Try to stay away from the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom or anywhere else where weapons might be available.
· Practice how to get out of you home safely. Identify which doors, windows, elevator, or stairwell would be best.
· Have a packed bag ready and keep it at a relative’s or friend’s home in order to leave quickly.
· Identify one or more neighbors you can tell about the violence and ask that they call the police if they hear a disturbance coming from your home.
· Devise a code word to use with your children, family, friends, and neighbors when you need the police.
· Decide and plan for where you will go if you have to leave home (even if you don’t think you will need to.)
· Use your own instincts and judgment. If the situation is very dangerous, try to calm the abuser until you can get out. You have the right to protect yourself until you are out of danger.
· Always remember – YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE HIT OR THREATENED.
SAFETY WHEN PREPARING TO LEAVE
· Open a savings account and/or credit card in your own name to start to establish or increase your independence. Have account statements mailed to an address where your partner will not see.
· Leave money, an extra set of keys, copies of important documents, extra medicines. and clothes with someone you trust so you can leave quickly.
· Determine who would be able to let you stay with them or lend you some money.
· Keep a shelter or hotline number close and in a secret place and keep some change or a calling card on you at all times for emergency phone calls.
· If the abuser has Caller ID, remember to call from a pay phone or blocked line so he/she can’t track you by the telephone number.
· Review your safety plan as often as possible in order to plan the safest way to leave your abuser. REMEMBER – WHEN YOUR ABUSER THINKS YOU ARE LEAVING IS A VERY DANGEROUS TIME.
SAFETY IN YOUR OWN HOME
· Change the locks on your doors as soon as possible. Buy additional locks and safety devices to secure your windows.
· Discuss a safety plan with your children for when you are not with them.
· If set forth in a court order, inform your children’s school, day care, etc., about who has permission to pick up your children. Give them a photograph of authorized persons.
· If set forth in a court order, inform neighbors and landlord that your partner no longer lives with you and that they should call the police if they see him/her near your home.
SAFETY WITH A PROTECTIVE ORDER
· Keep your protective order on you at all times. (When you change wallets/purses, the order should be the first thing that goes in it.) Give a copy to a trusted neighbor or family member.
· Call the police if your partner breaks the protective order.
· Think of alternative ways to keep safe if the police do not respond right away.
· Give a copy of protective order (with proof of service) to anyone who will have your kids.
· Inform family, friends, neighbors, and your physician or health care provider that you have a protective order in effect.
SAFETY ON THE JOB AND IN PUBLIC
· Tell the people at work who can help protect you, e.g.. supervisor, security. Provide a picture of your abuser to security.
· Arrange to have an answering machine, caller ID, or a trusted friend or relative screen your telephone calls.
· Devise a safety plan for when you leave work. Have someone escort you to your car, bus, or train and wait with you until you are safely en route. Use a variety of routes to go home. Think about what you would do if something happened while going home (e.g., in your car, on the bus, etc.)
YOUR OVERALL SAFETY AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH
· If you are thinking of returning to a potentially abusive situation, discuss an alternative plan with someone you trust.
· If you have to communicate with your abuser, determine the safest way to do that.
· Decide whom you can call to talk freely and openly to give you support.
· Plan to attend a victims' support group for at least two weeks to gain support from others and learn more about yourself and the relationship.
· Have positive thoughts about yourself and be assertive with others about your needs. Read books, and poems to help you feel stronger.
WHAT TO TAKE WHEN YOU LEAVE:
o Driver’s license
o Children’s birth certificates
o Your birth certificate
o Social Security card
o Welfare identification
o Money and/or credit cards
o Bank books
o Tax returns
o YOUR PROTECTIVE ORDER (including affidavit of service)
o Lease, rental agreement, house deed
o Car registration & insurance documents
o Health and Life insurance papers
o Work permits/Green card/VISA
o Divorce papers
o Custody papers
o House and car keys
o Small saleable objects
o Address book
o Phone card
o Pictures of you, your children, and your abuser
o Child(ren)’s toys
o Change of clothes for you and your children
o Small items that have sentimental value to you
o Letters containing threats